Washington State Department of Ecology - October 15, 2013

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State approves Burien's shoreline master program

Bellingham - The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) has approved Burien’s updated shoreline master program.

Burien’s shoreline program will result in significant improvements in the protection, use, development and restoration of shorelines on approximately 5.5 miles of Puget Sound and 1.2 miles of Lake Burien.

"The shoreline master program update effort has been a long and challenging process for us," said Mayor Brian Bennett. "The city is very pleased that all parties involved worked collaboratively to craft a program that meets the goals of both Burien’s residents and the region in maintaining and protecting one of our most valuable resources." The new master program combines local plans for future shoreline development and preservation with new shoreline development ordinances and related permitting requirements.

"Burien’s shoreline master program helps protect the economic and environmental health of our waters, including Puget Sound. Ecology greatly appreciates the commitment of Burien’s citizens and city council to forge a program that meets state standards and the needs of the local community," said Gordon White, manager of Ecology’s shorelands program.

Cities and counties statewide are in the process of, or soon will be, updating or developing their master programs under the state’s 1972 voter-approved Shoreline Management Act.

Shoreline master programs are the cornerstone of the act. The law requires cities and counties with regulated shorelines to develop and periodically update their locally tailored programs, which help minimize environmental damage to shoreline areas, reserve appropriate areas for water-oriented uses, and protect the public’s right to public lands and waters.

Burien’s staff and elected officials worked with citizens groups to develop a unique process to finalize the program for Ecology approval. Earlier stages made use of Ecology funding to engage assistance from a consultant to prepare a thorough inventory of existing land-use patterns and environmental conditions in the city’s shoreline areas.

Burien’s shoreline master program:

Under state law, the local shoreline plan must be approved by Ecology before taking effect. It then becomes part of the state shoreline master program. Ecology will help defend city’s shoreline program against legal challenges.

Washington’s cities and counties with regulated shorelines must update their programs by December 2014. They are following regulations adopted by Ecology in 2003. The regulations resulted from a negotiated settlement among 58 different parties including business interests, ports, environmental groups, shoreline user groups, cities and counties, Ecology and the courts.

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Media Contacts:

 Larry Altose, Ecology media relations, 425-649-7009, larry.altose@ecy.wa.gov
 Bob Fritzen, Ecology shorelines planner, 360-715-5207, bob.frtizen@ecy.wa.gov
 David Johanson, Planning Director, City of Burien, 206-248-5522. DavidJ@burienwa.gov

For more information:

Burien Shoreline Master Program:
 City of Burien website (http://burienwa.gov/index.aspx?NID=721)
 Ecology’s website (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/shorelines/smp/mycomments/burien.html)

More about shoreline master programs (www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/sea/shorelines/smp/index.html)

Our Living Shorelines web portal (www.ecy.wa.gov/livingshorelines/index.html)

Ecology’s social media (www.ecy.wa.gov/about/newmedia.html)